Is It Safer to Remove Asbestos from a Building or Leave It There?

asbestos being removedDid you know that thousands of buildings contain asbestos? This naturally occurring mineral was extensively used in the building industry until recently. Most establishments built before the 1980s contain some form of asbestos. Despite its high toxicity, this material can still be found in more than 733,000 public and commercial buildings. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer, diffuse pleural thickening and other life-threatening diseases.

Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that can stand high temperatures and corrosion. Before the 1970s, it was heavily used in millions of products, from auto parts and ceiling materials to floor tiles and roofing shingles. Its popularity has declined when it became evident that asbestos exposure may cause lung and respiratory health conditions. Today, this material is considered a human carcinogen.

When inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers cling to the lining of the lungs, heart, and stomach, causing inflammation. Over time, these fibers build up in your system, causing cancer and other deadly diseases. Mesothelioma or asbestos cancer takes up to 60 years to develop. This explains why millions of veterans who served during World War II have been recently diagnosed with cancer.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos has been linked to a high risk of asbestosis, pleural plaques, and cancer of the lungs, ovaries, colon, and GI tract. More than 45,000 U.S. adults have died of asbestos related diseases in the past 40 years. Yet, over 30 million pounds of asbestos are still used every year in America. This material can be found in schools, homes, boats, industrial buildings, and common household items like hair dryers and toasters.

The Truth about Asbestos Removal

No amount of asbestos exposure is safe. Breathing in asbestos fibers could kill you. Most establishments built or refurbished before the year 2000 contain amosite, crocidolite, or chrysotile. These types of asbestos are dangerous carcinogens and should be removed immediately.

Before initiating the removal procedure, keep in mind that intact asbestos is not dangerous. This material can become a danger to health only if it’s disturbed or damaged. The more fibers you breath in, the greater the risk. Asbestos exposure is higher among construction workers, general maintenance engineers, IT engineers, sailors, gas fitters, plumbers, electricians, roofers, and demolition contractors.

If you suspect that your house or office contains asbestos, seek professional help. A professional can take samples and determine whether or not asbestos is present in your home. If the building contains intact asbestos, you may be better off leaving it in place. However, those who choose to have asbestos removed can seal it or wrap it in a special material that prevents exposure.

Most home owners prefer to hire a certified contractor to handle this procedure. If the price is too high, you can remove asbestos yourself. It’s essential to wear proper equipment and use quality hand tools to prevent fibers from becoming airborne. You will also need a powerful vacuum and mask to protect your face during the procedure.

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